I volunteer for the Kent Association for the Blind, running two art groups for blind and partially sighted residents of Medway and Gravesend. You can read more about this work on this blog site KAB Medway Art Group. I am passionate about this work and it directly feeds my creative practice. I was involved in Rochester Cathedral’s research into creating a tactile interpretation of the Baptismal Fresco by Sergei Fyodorov, and subsequently commissioned to create the bronze tactile interpretation now on permanent display. I am currently working with The Beaney House of Art and Knowledge and Canterbury Cathedral as part of the ‘Sensing Culture’ project, aiming to open the arts and heritage to blind and partially sighted visitors.
I believe strongly that disability is not an impairment to creativity. Art is for all regardless of age, ability or background.
I thrive on collaborating. My artistic practice revolves around the people I meet and my responses are triggered by situations. I use materials to tell my story and if I can say it in a shadow, all the better for it. I invite you to touch the art work I make and very happy to hear to what you think about ‘touch’ and ‘do not touch’.
“Wendy has been running Kent Association for the Blind’s Medway Art Group since 2006. She is passionate about making art, creativity and self-expression more accessible and she communicates that passion and enthusiasm so well that the group has gone from strength to strength. Wendy is a talented artist with expertise in a wide range of media and really understands sight impairment, so she has created a range of projects that build on individual’s strengths and enthusiasms. I love that the projects are rooted in the community too: Wendy has brokered partnerships with a whole host of local groups and institutions, including Rochester Cathedral and the Royal Engineers Museum. So not only are the artistic projects shared and enjoyed widely but working together has also brought about a profound shift in people’s understanding of sight loss, and that benefits the whole community.”
“Rochester Cathedral houses a unique piece of twenty-first century art – Sergei Fyodorov’s Baptismal Fresco, the first fresco to be painted in an English church in eight hundred years. To make this artistic gem accessible to all, the Cathedral commissioned Wendy Daws and the Kent Association for the Blind Medway Art Group to explore the artwork and produce a tactile representation. After a series of creative workshops with adults and children from the Kent Association for the Blind, Wendy set to work carving the clay master, a task which took over 1000 hours! The resulting bronze plate is an extraordinary piece of collaborative work which enables all visitors to appreciate the detail of our fresco, as well as being an incredible piece of art work in its own right. The story behind the development of the bronze plaque is as important as the finished product. The Cathedral is proud and privileged to have been involved in the creation of such a stunning piece of artwork.” Revd Dr Philip Hesketh, Dean of Rochester Cathedral
Wendy is a pleasure to work with. She is invariably well-prepared and full of ideas and enthusiasm, but she is always careful to listen and respond to what participants themselves have to offer.